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Canadian senators pass amended assisted dying bill after days of debate

The Senate of Canada building and Senate Chamber are pictured in Ottawa on Monday, Feb. 18, 2019. CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick. CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Senators have overwhelmingly approved a bill to expand access to medical assistance in dying — with amendments that would relax access even more than proposed by the government.

Senators have added five amendments to the bill, which would expand assisted dying to people whose natural deaths are not reasonably foreseeable, in compliance with a 2019 Quebec Superior Court ruling.

Read more: MPs must decide whether to accept or reject Senate amendments to assisted dying bill

One amendment would impose an 18-month time limit on the bill’s proposed blanket ban on assisted dying for people suffering solely from mental illnesses.

Click to play video: 'Liberal MP stresses duties of members to protect rights of Canadians in case for assisted dying bill' Liberal MP stresses duties of members to protect rights of Canadians in case for assisted dying bill
Liberal MP stresses duties of members to protect rights of Canadians in case for assisted dying bill – Oct 19, 2020

Another would allow people who fear losing mental capacity to make advance requests for assisted death.

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The revised bill will now have to be sent back to the House of Commons for MPs to determine whether to accept or reject some or all of the amendments.

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